Sex scandal/abuse costs


What the priests chose to do is unconscionable. The cover-up by church leadership that allowed this to perpetuate disgusts me. This thread/question is to ask: How are our tithes handled, as it relates to the abuse and the costs associated with defending those involved and any settlements?

Is it pro-rata by parish in a diocese? Is there a mechanism to bankrupt a given diocese (if necessary) without allowing contributions to ‘reach back’ to another diocese.

Does it reach back to the assets in Rome? Or to the future earnings of existing parishioners?

Not saying I would want to bankrupt a diocese. I’m trying to learn more and am asking how our collective tithes are allocated.


1000 children and 301 priests over 70 years in one state. Extrapolate those numbers globally as the secular world is doing.

Does the Catholic Church have enough funds?


Are Catholic churches or any religious
organizations able to buy insurance that covers these scandals or does it all come out of the parishoner tithings?


Dioceses in USA generally have insurance. It’s likely that insurance doesn’t cover every expense, and also likely that the insurance is not cheap and probably increases in cost after big payouts.


Not every one of those people is going to be able to sue.
No suit or threat of suit generally means no payout.


Many of the accusations are beyond the statute of limitations to bring legal action. Many of the priests involved are dead. So the actual financial repercussions are not going to be as cataclysmic as people seem to believe. (I hope)
Yes, the actions of these priests are reprehensible (not a strong enough word?). It isn’t so much the sex, although that is disgusting, it is the abuse of power that is the horribly sad part. And any cover up designed to circumvent civil law on the part of the hierarchy needs to be addressed and prosecuted if possible. Men can sin, priests included, but the arrogance of the clergy as to abusing their positions of trust and power is the horribly disgusting part of all of this.


The Diocese of Tucson was the first in the US to file bankruptcy. My understanding is that compensations to the victims were paid out with insurance money. The lawyers for the victims wanted to have all diocese properties listed as assets, so all the parishes incorporated so that they couldn’t be included in the payouts. The downside is that the parish isn’t dependent on the diocese anymore so it’s unable to support itself, it goes under.

On another note, the lawyers for the victims were pleased with how the diocese dealt with the crisis.


Here we go again :roll_eyes: Why are you so obsessed with bankrupting you diocese? :roll_eyes:


I’d encourage you to read this article:

Withholding donations from the Church is far more likely to hurt our own parish’s ability to provide liturgies, offer faith formation, and serve the poor than it is to “punish” those responsible—most of whom are already dead, retired, or laicized.

I understand that people are upset and looking for some action they can take to feel like they are making a difference. But we have to be careful not to cut off our nose to spite our face. The Church doesn’t store up money for the heck of it. It is to provide for others—often the least fortunate among us who cannot provide for themselves.


a lot got settled out of court


Yes, which means the payment was already made, so the person cannot now sue again, and the payment was probably less than if the Diocese had to get lawyers and go to court and then settle.


What it’s costing can NEVER EVER NEVER be replaced in terms of $$$$$$$$$. What it costs is the innocence and trust of young men and women and possibly the Catholic Faith of many of them. HOPEFULLY praying that they can come to forgive the men and women that abused them and they can come to peace with it all and be even stronger in their Faith.


All bankruptcy means, whether its an individual or an organization, is that you owe more than you can pay.

So the result is that the bankruptcy judge- using the laws regarding the matter- decide who gets what and can the organization reorganize after the bankruptcy is over. All of the creditors are notified- in this case it would be those owed judgments as well as mortgage holders, utilities, vendors that may be owed, etc.

Making a settlement with a single creditor ahead of seeking bankruptcy protection has to be looked at by the judge. The concern is that this creditor got priority access to a limited amount of funds.

If the insurance company is making settlements out of their assets and they aren’t in bankruptcy, that might be ok.


It’s not necessarily a bankruptcy situation.

In “The Keepers”, one of the abuse victims claimed the Baltimore archbishop’s assistant was going around years ago looking to pay off victims of Fr. Maskell in order to keep them from suing. I can totally see that happening.


While it might differ a little in each diocese, in general it works like this:

  1. x% of tithes per parish is given the diocese for general administrative expenses. In my diocese, I think it something like 5% (I forget the exact precentage). The rest says with the parish.

  2. the diocese gets the the rest of their money from diocesan appeals, individual donations to the diocese, and investments.

  • From what I understand, my archdiocese used to offer parishes an optional program to pull together money for investments (kind of like a mutual fund), where the diocese acts like the broker. But I believe Archbishop Chaput put an end to that. He didn’t like the archdiocese handling parish money and viewed as a big temptation. So from what I understand, he’s making parishes handle their own investments (though I think there are still experts at the archdiocese level that a parish can ask for advise).
  1. As far as the Vatican is concerned, their money comes primarily from being the Diocese of Rome and their own investments, etc.

This is why I don’t agree with the “don’t put money in the basket” argument. That’s not the answer because it hurts your parish, first and for most. But you can stop donating directly to the diocese if you wish.

God Bless


to be clear, the parishes have always been financially independent. However, sometimes dioceses have helped parishes in the past. But a diocese has never been financially liable for poor parishes.


The problem is, much of the clerical hierarchy in the Church has gone to bed with the world. Money is not the solution or the punishment. It’s just something we have without having, to paraphrase St Paul.


Its perfectly legit to do that, if the organization isn’t in bankruptcy, and the settlement isn’t being done in anticipation of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy law protects the debtor, but it also sets clear parameters as to which creditors get priority and they don’t go for people skirting around those priorities.


Let’s take this to spiritual “credits”. Does the Church have enough if one extrapolates globally 1000 abused children, 301 priests over 70 years in one state?


I don’t understand what you mean by “spiritual credits”? Can you explain this more please?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit